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Redlining, Food Apartheids and Black Food Justice

– Katie Petit and Riley De Jesus

The USDA defines a food desert as “a neighborhood that lacks healthy food sources.” While this term has been widely used to describe communities with lack of access to fresh foods and grocery stores, it is imperative that we contextualize what this language can mean to people living in communities defined as ‘food deserts.’

Contrary to the imagery that the term ‘food desert’ evokes, we know that these communities are not desolate or inherently lacking; there is abundant life, energy and potential to be found. Karen Washington coined the term ‘food apartheid’ to make the shift inward, exploring the root causes of food system inequities as being directly correlated with race, class and geography.

The fact of the matter: healthy, fresh foods are accessible in wealthy neighborhoods, while unhealthy foods are bountiful in poor neighborhoods. This is an intentional, policy disparity that leaves racialized individuals

A study concerning multiple communities found that wealthy neighborhoods had three times the number of grocery stores as low socioeconomic neighborhoods, while white neighborhoods had four times the number as African American neighborhoods. African Americans living in an area with access to one or more grocery stores are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables than those living in neighborhoods without. For each additional neighborhood grocery store, produce consumption increased by 32%  

The degree to which a neighborhood has access to healthy food sources can be measured by distance to a store, the number of stores in a given area, accessibility of these stores, means of transportation and income level of community members. Although these neighborhoods may have corner and convenience stores, the shelves are stocked with cheap, processed, nutritionally empty foods–foods high in sugar and fat–which increases the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and other diet-related issues.

So what shapes food apartheids?

Redlining, Jim Crowe, environmental racism, income inequality, anti-Black farming policies, saturation of convenience foods, lack of food sovereignty, colonialism, residential segregation, classism, lack of access to growing spaces influenced food apartheids.

The history of segregation continues to shape every aspect of people’s lives—including the food they have access to. 

Redlining maps were created with the intent of formalizing the division between white and Black citizens in a given city, based on principles of so-called desirability and race. In the U.S., redlining is defined as a discriminatory practice in which services (financial and otherwise) are withheld from individuals residing in neighborhoods deemed ‘hazardous’ to investment, with residents belonging largely to racial and ethnic minorities. The formalized practice of redlining began in 1934 with the passage of the National Housing Act, leading to the creation of race-based maps of more than 200 U.S. cities.

The development of food deserts in minority neighborhoods as well as purposeful construction of supermarkets impractically far away from targeted residents are direct results of the redlining.

Food disparities in U.S. cities have a collective effect on people’s health. Research has linked them to the disproportionately poor nutrition of Black and Latino Americans, even after adjustment for socioeconomic status. As much as urban planning has been part of the problem, it could now be part of the solution. Some cities have begun using planning tools to increase food equity.

Michelle Wu’s Food Justice Agenda notes that: food justice means racial justice, demanding a clear-eyed understanding of how white supremacy has shaped our food systems. Her campaign outlines clear policy goals:

  • Support independent food businesses to build a more resilient, diverse food economy.
  • Liveable wages for local food chain workers.
  • Expand residents’ access to fresh, nutritious, affordable, & culturally relevant foods.
  • Public procurement to deliver good food for residents and create opportunities for diverse, local businesses.
  • Coalition of community advocates to secure food policy reforms.

Some additional policy options:

  • Low interest loans for retail food places to operate in food apartheids and keep up with inflation price changes.
  • Tax cuts for food places operating in food apartheids.
  • Financial support, liveable wages and basic income for food workers.
  • Health insurance for food workers sponsored by government.
  • food subsidies for fresh, culturally relevant produce.
  • Support community-led food policy initiatives (policy councils, advisory boards).
  • Revise zoning laws to promote food equity.
  • Housing, transport, childcare and other direct social assistance.

Food justice means affirming that consistent access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally relevant food is a universal human right.

Reference List:
Agyeman, J. (2021, August 16). How urban planning and housing policy helped create ‘food apartheid’ in US cities. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://theconversation.com/how-urban-planning-and-housing-policy-helped-create-food-apartheid-in-us-cities-154433
Berryman, L. (2020, November 25). Redlining and Racism – the Real Roots of Food Deserts in our Communities. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://sustainability.wfu.edu/2020/10/26/redlining-and-racism-the-real-roots-of-food-insecurity-in-our-communities/
Brown , R. (n.d.). Overcoming food apartheid – center for community and economic development – michigan State University. Overcoming Food Apartheid – Center for Community and Economic Development – Michigan State University. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://ced.msu.edu/media/e-newsletters/cnv-vol-31-no-1-spring-2021/1935
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. (2021, April 15). What is a food apartheid? Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://pittsburghfoodbank.org/2021/04/15/what-is-a-food-apartheid/
Move for Hunger. (2020, August 11). Redlining and Food Justice in America . Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://moveforhunger.org/blog/redlining-and-food-justice-america
Pink, R. (2018, October 11). Birmingham’s ‘food deserts’ have been shaped by its redlined past. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://civileats.com/2018/09/26/birminghams-food-deserts-have-been-shaped-by-its-redlined-past/
Price, J. H., Khubchandani, J., McKinney, M., & Braun, R. (2013). Racial/ethnic disparities in chronic diseases of youths and access to health care in the United States. BioMed research international. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3794652/#:~:text=more%20chronic%20diseases.-,Racial%2Fethnic%20minorities%20are%201.5%20to%202.0%20times%20more%20likely,seem%20to%20be%20getting%20worse
Zhang, M., & Debarchana, G. (2016, February). Spatial supermarket redlining and neighborhood vulnerability: A case study of hartford, Connecticut. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4810442/

Privilege of Dietetics

Path to Dietetics

While the path looks different for everyone, here’s a basic outline:

Barriers to Becoming an RD

Barriers to become a dietitian play a big role in the lack of diversity of our field. Financial barriers include the cost of tuition, living expenses, pay over tuition (POT), cost of healthy food on campus, internship tuition, CEUs. Hidden barriers include the time spent on scholarship/job applications, unpaid labour for pre-placement ‘experience’, transport expenses for placements, relocation expenses for internships, language barriers (expectation for English) and emotional toll caused by a competitive & workaholic culture.

Calls to Action

  1. Pay Students for Work (especially in clinical and private practice settings).
  2. Inclusive Application Process that makes non-nutrition experience relevant, anonymizes applications, addresses implicit biases.
  3. Increasing the Number of Opportunities for post graduate opportunities (Master’s or internships).
  4. Eliminate Tuition for Internships. Why are we paying to work for free??

Black Farmers: Historic Discrimination in North America

Written and edited by Christabel Menezes

Sharecropping and Black Land Acquisition (1868-1900)

Sharecropping: formerly enslaved farmers were leased small plots of land by giving a portion of the crop yield back to the landowner. This resulted in extreme power imbalances between landlords and leaser, often putting Black farmers in severe debt.

“Sharecropping was like slavery under another name”.

1860s: Economic changes to the agroindustry made sharecroppers start growing cash crops (tobacco) instead of produce for sustenance.

Homestead Act of 1862: 160 acres of land granted Americans who worked for 5 years. 1.5 million families were given this crucial economic foundation, but only about 5,000 of those families were Black.

USDA Policies

Cooperative Extension Service (1914): Segregated services that offered poor services to Black farmers. Service workers were unable to help black sharecroppers and tenant farmers if white landlords objected to the black service workers’ presence on their land.

Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933): Govt. tried to stabilize commodity prices by reducing production. Lack of outreach to tenant farmers caused Black farmers to be exploited by white farmers.

Federal Emergency Relief Administration (1933): Black individuals received 20% less aid than white farmers, despite getting paid less.

Farm Security Administration (1937): allocated loan and grant funds in a discriminatory manner towards Black farmers.

1939: Black farmers in the South received 23 percent of the allocated standard rehabilitation loans but made up 37 percent of all low-income farmers.

1940: Black farmers were 35 percent of tenant farmers in the South but only received 21 percent of tenant-purchase loans.

1965: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights finds USDA discriminated against Black farmers when providing loans and conservation payments.

1981: USDA report notes that Black and minority farmers are “disproportionately represented in poverty groups” and that these types of farms have less access to needed credit.

1983: Ronald Reagan closed the USDA Office of Civil Rights as part of that year’s budget cuts after Commission on Civil Rights report found examples of rampant racism throughout the USDA.

1996: Consultant D.J. Miller report finds Black farmers don’t get share of subsidies, payments or loans.

Pigford v. USDA (1999): Black farmers owed $1.03 billion. More than 22,000 Black farmers seek claims, but only 15,645 receive modest payments.

Black Farmers in Canada

Black farmers were first documented from Oklahoma to the Prairies in 1905, and increased significantly during the Jim Crow era.

Western Canadians were overwhelmingly against Black migration and the following interventions were implemented:

  1. Delayed entries at Canada-USA border.
  2. Deployment of Canadian agents to Oklahoma to discourage migration.
  3. 1911 Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324 Ban on Black Immigration into Canada.

Black Farmers Today

Only 45,508 (1.3%) of farmers are Black in the USA. There are around 139 Black owned farms in the USA currently, which make up only about 0.4% of total farm acreage. Only 0.5% of total US farm sales are from Black-owned farms.

BLACK FARMERS NEED MORE SUPPORT.

Policy Options

  1. Government-funded grants for Black farmers.
  2. Granting land from historically Black settlements back to Black Farmers.
  3. Protect heirs’ property.
  4. Expand technical assistance to farmers of color.
  5. Commit to oversight and regular audits.
  6. Conduct Canadian research to analyze the prevalence of discrimination and inequalities.

References:
Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center. (n.d.). Sharecropping, Black Land Acquisition, and White Supremacy (1868-1900) | Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://wfpc.sanford.duke.edu/durham-food-history/sharecropping-black-land-acquisition-and-white-supremacy-1868-1900
Southern Historical Collection. (1966). Sharecropping contract dated Dec 5, 1866, Cameron Family Papers #133. Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Holley, D. (1971). The Negro in the New Deal Resettlement Program. Agricultural History, 45(3), 179–193. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3741977
Tyler, S. S. & Moore, E. A. (2013) “Plight of Black Farmers in the Context of USDA Farm Loan Programs: A Research Agenda for the Future,” Professional Agricultural Workers Journal: Vol. 1: No. 1, 6.
Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). Timeline: Black farmers and the USDA, 1920 – Present. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a long history of discrimination against Black farmers. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.ewg.org/research/black-farmer-usda-timeline/
Castro, A., & Willingham, C. Z. (2019, April 3). Progressive governance can turn the tide for Black Farmers. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.americanprogress.org/article/progressive-governance-can-turn-tide-black-farmers/
Shepard, R. B. (n.d.). African Canadians. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.afam.005
Yarhi, E. (2016, September 30). Order-in-council P.C. 1911-1324 – The Proposed Ban on Black Immigration to Canada. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/order-in-council-pc-1911-1324-the-proposed-ban-on-black-immigration-to-canada
Igbavboa, H. & Elliot, S. (n.d.). The Challenge of Food Sovereignty for Black Farmers in the Greater Toronto Area. Ryerson University. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/social-innovation/News/FutureFarmers_ReportandBibliography_RU.pdf
https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Highlights/2019/2017Census_Farm_Producers.pdf

Black-Led Movements in Nutrition and Food Justice: Spotlight on the Black Panther Party

Written by Tanvir Jassal & Edited by Christabel Menezes

Who are the Black Panthers?

Established in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California. Formed in response to ongoing systemic inequities in urban black communities despite the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement. Developed various community programs, including free clothing and shoes, ambulance services, health clinics. The most notable program was the Free Breakfast for Children Program (FBFC).

BPP 10 Point Program

Despite media portrayal as an extremist group, the BPP intended to uplift the Black community by any means.

  1. We Want Freedom.
  2. We Want Full Employment for Our People.
  3. We Want An End to the Robbery By the Capitalists of Our Black Community.
  4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter of Human Beings.
  5. We Want Education for Our People That Exposes The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role in the Present-Day Society.
  6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.
  7. We Want An Immediate End to Police Brutality and the Murder of Black People.
  8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held in Federal, State, County and City Prisons and Jails.
  9. We Want All Black People When Brought to Trial To Be Tried In Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities, As Defined By the Constitution of the United States.
  10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.

Reception of the FBFC

  • Began serving free breakfasts at churches in Oakland and San Francisco.
  • BPP chief of staff David Hilliard was instrumental to the programs growth while Newton and Seale were imprisoned (and later acquitted).
  • Many attempts were made by police and FBI agents to disrupt the program. Participants, donors, and supporters were harassed through raids and intimidation.
  • FBI head J. Edgar Hoover called the program “potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for
  • One FBI raid in Chicago ended with smashing and urinating on all the food that was to be used for the children’s breakfast program.
Program Operations included a minimum of 10 people to run the program, sample weekly menus, space for 50 children and suitable kitchen equipment for food prep, space for hanging coats, waste disposal, food storage and equipment.
Funding was acquired by donations of wealthy white philanthropists, humanitarians, corporations and Black-owned businesses. Traffic control established to aid children crossing the street, reception and coat hanger, servers, cooks.

Implications and Legacy

A prominent example of a Black-Led food and nutrition movement, the Free Breakfast Program met a community need by reducing hunger and food insecurity. It highlighted the government failure and lack of support for childhood hunger.

At its peak in 1971, the BPP established programs in 36 cities. It recognized the emerging research associating the relationship between children’s nourishment and learning outcomes. It set the precedent for the USA’s future national breakfast program.

References:
Blakemore, E. (2018, February 6). How the Black Panthers’ Breakfast Program Both Inspired and Threatened the Government. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.history.com/news/free-school-breakfast-black-panther-party
Boyd, V. (2021, March 23). How the Black Panthers Fed Their Communities for Free. Bon Appétit. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/black-panther-free-breakfast-program
Duncan, G. Albert (2021, February 9). Black Panther Party. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Panther-Party
Harris, B. (2015). The Most Important Legacy of the Black Panthers. Culture Desk. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-most-important-legacy-of-the-black-panthers
Lateef, Husain and Androff, David (2017) ““Children Can’t Learn on an Empty Stomach”: The Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast Program,” The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare: Vol. 44 : Iss. 4 , Article 2. Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/jssw/vol44/iss4/2
Russonello, G. (2016, October 16). Fascination and Fear: Covering the Black Panthers. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/us/black-panthers-50-years.html
The Black Panther Party. (n.d). Pratt Library Research Guides. Retrieved from: https://www.prattlibrary.org/research/guides/the-black-panther-party
(1966) The Black Panther Party ten-point program . Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/primary-documents-african-american-history/black-panther-party-ten-point-program-1966/

Cultural Humility: Venezuela

Gabby Puche and Christabel Menezes

Venezuelan food has influences from Indigenous, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, African and Caribbean peoples. The most recent estimates identified 51 distinct indigenous groups, 44 of which are officially recognised by the Venezuelan government. Some groups include the Wayuú, Pemón, Warao, Yanomamö and Kariña groups.

Corn

Corn has remained an important staple in Venezuelan cuisine, providing comfort and a source of great nutrition.

Nutrition: dietary fiber, whole grain, gluten free, lutein and zeaxanthin. It is used in arepas, empanadas, hallacas, cachapas and bollitos.

Pabellón Criollo: Rice, beans, tajadas (plantains) and shredded meats.

Pernil: Venezuelan pork roast.

Empanadas: Fried/baked turnovers with various fillings.

Cachapas: Sweet corn pancake cooked in a budare (a clay/iron plate). Served with queso de mano.

Bistec a Caballo: ‘Steak on horseback’. Fried eggs with steak.

Asado Negro: ‘Dark beef roast’ from Caracas. Made with onions, sweet peppers and other aromatics.

Casabe: Crispy flatbread made from cassava (yuca) flour.

Chivo al Coco: Goat meat cooked with coconut milk.

Lengua de Res: Beef tongue cooked in various spices.

Ñoquis: Gnocchi from Italian influences.

Cachitos: Pastry similar to croissant, often filled with ham and cheese (cachitos de jamon).

Hallacas: Thin layer of corn dough stuffed with a meat filling topped with vegetables.

Briana Butler

Hi! I’m Briana Butler; a pro basketball player turned sports dietitian! After retiring from ball, I decided to pursue dietetics full time, received a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from UT Southwestern Medical Center (got my BA in Human Performance from USC – Fight On!), and jumped into private practice while working as a dietitian for the NBA G-League.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with world-class athletes, awesome wellness clients, and renowned brands as I specialize in sports nutrition and wellness nutrition for millennials while dabbling in a bit of media/spokesperson work!

I think most dietitians of color recognize the need for more of us in every space of dietetics. Fortunately, I believe now more than ever, we have an opportunity to break through that glass ceiling and establish a presence. However, to do that, it has to start at a grassroots level! With that being said, I think one of the best things we can do is take a young student of color under our wing and be a reliable resource. Paying it forward can move the needle farther than we may think!

Gurveen Jaggi

Hi everyone, my name is Gurveen Jaggi and I am currently a student at the University of Alberta in the Dietetics Specialization program. I’ve been interested in nutrition and how it relates to chronic diseases since I was in high school and have always been watching documentaries and reading articles relating to nutrition. When I started University, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, however, In my second year, I started researching more about what a dietitian does and decided that I wanted to pursue that as a career. Over the years I’ve realized how much misinformation there is surrounding nutrition, so I was really interested in learning evidence-based nutrition information so that I can educate others. Growing up in a Punjabi/Sikh household, I’ve been taught the importance of equality and community service especially since my parents would often take me to the Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) where langar is served daily. Langar is a community kitchen where free meals are served to

all visitors, regardless of their background. Seeing this, I have also developed an interest in food security and would like to learn more about how social determinants of health affect people of various backgrounds.

Throughout my degree so far, I haven’t seen a whole lot of diversity in terms of students and professors since they are predominantly white. However, since I started my instagram account, I’ve seen and read about a lot more BIPOC perspectives in dietetics, which are so important. Current RDs, professors, and dietetic students should continue to elevate BIPOC voices since they are so valuable and diversify the profession.

Canada is guilty. AND SO ARE WE: Reexamining the nutrition experiments

Written and researched by Christabel Menezes

*TW: mentions of sexual violence, starvation, trauma and residential schools.

Residential Schools

Federal government funded schools that forced Indigenous children into assimilation.

These schools attempted to ‘educate’ and convert youth, assimilating them into white Canadian society. Approximately 150,000 Indigenous children attended these schools, with 6,000 found dead*.

Psychological impact: PTSD, substance abuse, depression and dysthymic disorder. ‘Residential School Syndrome’ describes a broad range of symptoms associated with victims of residential schools**.

Sexual abuse: Sexual violence was extremely common at residential schools, often by the religious staff leading the classes.

Health and disease: The students were particularly vulnerable to diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza (including the Spanish flu).

Food at Residential Schools

“Hunger was never absent”

During Basil Johnson’s duration at the residential school during 1939-1950, he noted that students were fed just enough to blunt the sharp edge of hunger for three or four hours, never enough to dispel hunger until the next meal. The food was often inedible. Russ Moses described the estimated diet at residential schools was 1260 kcal/day. Energy requirements for moderately active children range from 1400 – 3200 kcal/day.

Nutrition Experiments

Led by The Canadian Council on Nutrition, researchers viewed Aboriginal children as “experimental materials” and research opportunities. The children’s families were not notified and did not give consent to participation. They did not have access to traditional, nutritious foods that they were accustomed to. Prior to the study, researchers deliberately fed the children less than 50% of an adequate diet to induce malnutrition. Some studies examined the relation of nutrition and oral health – 6 schools documented cases of gingivitis and dental cavities.

Supplements given: Vitamin C, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2).

Food products: “Carrot biscuit“: large amounts of vitamin A.

Flour mix: contained large amounts of vitamin B and bonemeal – could not legally be distributed outside Newfoundland. 85% of total calories was from white flour, lard, sugar and jam.

Control group: Investigations revealed the poor quality of food at residential schools. Rather than working towards a solution, researchers fed the children poor quality foods to compare the effect of experimental fortified foods.

References:
Brasfield, C. (2001). Residential School Syndrome. BC Medical Journal, 2(43). https://bcmj.org/articles/residential-school-syndrome
Henderson, William B.. “Indian Act”. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 16 December 2020, Historica Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/indian-act. Accessed 01 June 2021.
Macdonald, N. E., Stanwick, R., & Lynk, A. (2014). Canada’s shameful history of nutrition research on residential school children: The need for strong medical ethics in Aboriginal health research. Paediatrics & child health, 19(2), 64. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/19.2.64
Miller, J., Residential Schools in Canada (2021). In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools
Mosby, I. (2013). Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942–1952. Histoire sociale/Social history 46(1), 145-172. doi:10.1353/his.2013.0015.
Mosby, I., & Galloway, T. (2017). “Hunger was never absent”: How residential school diets shaped current patterns of diabetes among Indigenous peoples in Canada. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal, 189(32), E1043–E1045. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.170448
Mosby, I., & Galloway, T. (2017). ‘The abiding condition was hunger’: assessing the long-term biological and health effects of malnutrition and hunger in Canada’s residential schools. British Journal of Canadian Studies: Volume 30, Issue 2. https://doi.org/10.3828/bjcs.2017.9
Shuchman M. (2013). Bioethicists call for investigation into nutritional experiments on Aboriginal people. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 185(14), 1201–1202. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.109-4576

Marina Mansour

MAN, RD

Hi everyone! My name is Marina Mansour. My journey to dietetics has been a long one, but one that I truly appreciate for what it has taught me. I studied biological sciences at the University of Alberta before realizing my true passion was nutrition. I then went to Acadia University where I finished my BSc Nutrition and Dietetics. After gaining a few years of work experience, I went back to complete a Masters of Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. I now have my own private practice – Food for Life Nutrition – specializing in maternal and child nutrition. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Growing up as a second generation Egyptian, I never really felt excluded or discriminated against, but when I started studying nutrition, I realized that there was a huge gap in cultural competence. My multiculturalism helped me to be successful as a dietitian, especially in helping those from other cultural backgrounds as it has enabled me to always seek to understand different cultures. Food is such an integral part of culture so we cannot even begin to discuss food without first understanding the culture.

I am so proud of my heritage and so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had that have led me to where I am now. Dietetics is an exciting field, one that is quickly changing and always adapting. I am optimistic that cultural competence will continue to be discussed and am honoured to be in a field that celebrates diversity.

Craig Pacheco

My name is Craig Pacheco (He/Him/His) and I am a Registered Dietitian in Toronto/Tkaronto, Canada. I am a graduate of the Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Dietetics program from the University of Toronto and the founder of Queerly Nutrition, a service focusing on advocating and providing LGBT2SQ+ inclusive nutrition care services and training.

As a member of the LGBT2SQ+ community, I often felt misunderstood and unseen in health care spaces.  Topics on sexuality and gender identity are often left out of the conversation when discussing culturally competent nutrition care services. Dietetic training across the country lacks acceptance, understanding, and representation of LGBT2SQ+ folks’ narratives. Dietitians are trained to provide patient centered care and we must put in the work to learn, acknowledge, and respect all parts of one’s identity. I challenge people to reflect, get uncomfortable, and challenge traditional ways of thinking about health and identity.

Confession #13

In one of my previous roles as a Registered Dietitian, I regularly taught cooking classes for adults on healthy eating on a budget. Since space was limited, I took many of the class registrations over the phone, which included asking registrants if they had any food allergies so that I could adapt recipes if necessary.

Once, one of the people registering over the phone joked to me that it was a good thing we weren’t eating Chinese food because she was allergic to dogs. I identify as mixed-race Chinese American and was too stunned by the casual racism to say anything. I’ve always wondered if the woman realized that she’d made that joke to the wrong person after she met me during the class.